The Roster

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Fixing the MTH 2 Bay Hopper

...or Sunday afternoon at the repair bench.

So the MTH 2 -bay hopper I'd mail-ordered arrived in less than stellar condition. The weight was rattling internally. The weight may also have dismounted the end walls from both ends of the car. Plus the catwalk had come loose. Hell of a job on shipping boys!  Here's a few shots of what it looked like on arrival.

You can see the disconnected catwalk and the end walls

Another view of the end wall and the catwalk

The more I looked at it the more irritable I became.

Sadly as I did not open the box and recognize the issue within 10 days OR save the original shipping box, my return options with the merchant appear to be non-existent.  Fair enough - they have a clearly stated policy.  Guess I'm stuck with it. So...taking the bull by the horns, I set out to fix the damage.

First step - dis-assembly. Most other cars I own have the body held on with some snap-tight system. By spreading the body walls, I got the chassis to drop out and away from the body. Then the loose end caps fell off and out. This left me with five distinct parts.

Body, end walls, weight and chassis.
The only things that appear broken are the mounting pins on the top of each end wall. Even there, a little bit of the pins remain present. You can see where the initial glue has failed and allowed the parts to become loose. The weight was just rattling around loose inside the body.

The weight is a single, stamped metal part with four mounting holes in the corners.

Attaching the weight was just a question of centering the weight over the mounting holes and pressing down. There's enough resistance that the weight almost 'snaps' in place. If subjected to a lot of shaking it could come loose, but should stay put from normal usage.

The weight re-installed on the chassis. The bend in the metal weight allows it to conform to the chassis design. 

Next up was fitting the end walls back into place. They slid in easily, figuring out the exact positioning was a little mysterious, so I cheated and pulled out an old SHS 2-Bay hopper and checked how the parts fit on  that one. Give these are supposed to be made from the same molds, assembly should be similar.

I've fit the part to the chassis trying to figure out how the connecting rod, err...connects to the brake assembly. In the end the SHS PS-2 gave me the pattern to follow.

Included just to show how the L girder extends through the car wall.

You can see the old glue line and the pin slots in the ceiling of the car body.

 I dropped the end walls into the body and applied ABS cement. After it quick set I flipped the body over onto the chassis and installed it. The trickiest part was to align the brake machinery lever correctly, but even that was not too difficult. A quick visual inspect shows the end walls seated properly to the chassis.

Looking better!

The last step was getting the catwalk fixed. The pins had sheared off over about half the car. I placed small amounts of CA glue on the supports along the car roof and then pushed the catwalk down onto the glue. A rubber band held it in place, but I placed two bottles atop the catwalk for additional weight while the CA glue sets. 

All done save the test drive!

 This was a relatively short repair. Maybe 45 minutes total from starting disassemble to completion. I took my time - this included analysis of the problem and defining the solution. In the end, it was easier than I expected.

My only regret is that I should not have to basically do model kit level rough assembly for a brand new ready to roll item. I may buy additional items from MTH in the future, but I'll want to see it's condition before putting down the cash.